The one who confesses and renounces [their sins] finds mercy. — Proverbs 28:13
Sin gets in the way of communication. ~ Chrystal
Welcome to week three of The 28-Day Prayer Journey Online Bible Study. This week Chrystal leads us in learning about repentance and forgiveness. (Spoiler alert: it’s awesome!)
Repentance is such a highfalutin word. I’ve always felt sort of intimidated by it. Sometimes, we may get turned off by the big words of high church, but let’s not miss out of the treasures God has for us!
Let’s break it down:
Confess = tell it; own it; say it’s true.
Renounce = reject; abandon; refuse
Repent = turn around and go the completely opposite way
You’ve had friends or loved ones break your heart before. So have I. Friendships are destroyed when the offending party chooses hard-heartedness and stands their ground even when they know that they’re wrong. Relationships require tenderness, humility, intentionality, and honesty. A lack of sorrow, well, that doesn’t work!
But, when someone has hurt you and then turned around and deeply apologized and changed their behavior? Ahhh… that actually deepens the relationship, doesn’t it? Injury, repentance, and forgiveness in God’s upside-down Kingdom brings a new, beautiful intimacy to relationships.
Just like in a relationship with someone who you cared a lot about, if they hurt you, you wouldn’t just want a flippant “I’m sorry”, you would want a sincere acknowledgement that they offended you, that they hurt you, and that they intended not to do that again. It’s owning the thing. Saying, “I did it.” And saying, “I have every intention of not doing it again.” ~ Chrystal
The same is true in our relationship with God! When we sin against Him, when we break His laws, when we injure others, when we wander away, when we do any myriad things that separate us from Him, we have to face Him (prayer), own it (confession), and then show that we’re not going to go that direction again (repentance).
Confession is not the fun work of prayer, it’s the necessary work of prayer. ~ Chrystal
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin. — Psalm 32:5
Why is this hard? Because we don’t like saying we’re wrong! Because we get arrogant and stubborn! Because it requires humility and change, which we often don’t like. And, because we can’t see the relief that repentance brings! The joy! The freedom!
Forgiveness from God is like removing an anvil from your chest. It’s breathing clean air after being trapped in a burning building. It’s freedom from the prison of guilt and shame!
God is a magnificent forgiver! Just flip around the Bible, check out some of the major characters’ lives and you’ll see it as clear as day. He forgives and forgives and forgives!
Which is why we need to be great forgivers! (Much, much harder, I know!)
As the forgiven, we must learn to forgive and forgive and forgive. Even when the other person isn’t remotely sorry, even if they never will be sorry, even if they’re dead already, even if they’re still hurting you, even if… even if… even if…
*Forgiveness doesn’t mean automatic reconciliation. It doesn’t mean what happened didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean it’s ok. It just means you gave it to God and let Him handle the debt and took it off your ledger.
Every act of forgiveness, every act of letting go is an act of healing… you! ~ Chrystal
I don’t know about you, but I want to be naked and unashamed before God, just as Adam and Eve were. No sin to cover up. Nothing barring me from Him or Him from me. I want to be fully me in His presence knowing I’m fully forgiven and I’ve fully forgiven.
How about you?
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session three of The 28-Day Prayer Journey on our study home page and take notes in your study guide on pages 57-64 and stick around to go through the questions with our OBS community afterward!
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week preparing for session four on pages 65-80.
- Join the conversations about this week’s teaching and get to know our community in our private Facebook group.
Scriptures this Week
1 Samuel 13
1 John 1:9
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Thank You for the gift for repentance. Thank You that You made a way for us to still come to You when we are covered in shame and sin and be freed from it. Help us to humble ourselves and confess our garbage to You. Help us to forgive others as well since we’ve been so magnificently forgiven by You. We love You!